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Sportscasters Draw Fire for Comments on Johnny Weir

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Posted on Feb 24, 2010
Weir
AP / David J. Phillip

Johnny Weir blows a kiss to fans before receiving his scores following his short program during the men’s figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver on Feb. 16.

American figure skater Johnny Weir has challenged the norms of his sport with his sartorial flair and his performance style while executing triple axels with the best of them, but pushing boundaries doesn’t usually happen without some kind of backlash. Unfortunately, this has been the case for Weir, who was the subject of jokes and comments—by Olympic broadcast announcers, no less—that gay rights advocates are calling homophobic.  —KA

Edge Boston:

Homophobic remarks made about flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir and other competitors by two sports announcers have been denounced by The Quebec Gay and Lesbian Council. The group has also called for an apology from Canadian French language broadcaster RDS, reported the Associated Press on Feb. 22.

RDS sports commentators Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot swapped wisecracks about Weir, including a suggestion that the figure skater be tested to determine his gender, in a reference to Caster Semenya, a South African runner who was subjected to gender testing after her winning performance last year in Germany. They also suggested that Weir should be competing in women’s events, rather than men’s. The duo further slammed Weir as “a bad example” of figure skating athletes.

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By j_obee, June 28, 2010 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

You would think they would praise Johnny for being himself and bringing some much needed excitement to the sport of figure skating.  It really doesn’t matter how he looks, how low his refinance rates
are, or even if he’s a bad skater.  Comment on his routine and leave the bigotry to yourselves.

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By James C, May 18, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Johnny Weir by all means is the great skater! And I don’t think it’s the problem the way he looks. We should count only his results first of all and doesn’t matter he wears pink clothes.

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By PatrickHenry, March 13, 2010 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

I remember growing my hair long during the Beatles generation and the public outcry over that.

Gee I miss that hair.

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By RAE, February 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, radison, for your reply. It seems we’re of similar minds on the topic.

As you said:

“I personally am not drawn by his tastes, but I do respect his freedom.”

I go further than “respect his freedom” - I INSIST that EVERYONE respects the right of others to be free from discrimination, from harm, from barriers and from public humiliation just because they are different from some artificial “norm.”

That said, I do acknowledge that this “right” is not absolute. It is subject to the condition that my “difference” cannot be allowed to bring HARM to others without appropriate sanctions. (I do NOT accept that having my sensibilities offended or my “moral standards” affronted constitutes “HARM.”)

We each must accept that our choice to live in the general society has consequences, one of which is that we be tolerant of differences.

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By radson, February 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

REA

Thanks for your opinion and rebuttal,it has perhaps caused a misunderstanding .

First of all, if I understand your statement, Johnny wasn’t surprised at the reaction to his attire. It was the broadcasters who couldn’t handle it in a mature way.

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The sportscasters did not handle the situation in an all encompassing manner ,whether that is due to their own Peer Pressure and or up -bringing is subject to discussion.

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Secondly, Johnny is not advertising or promoting his particular variation of the human sexualities. He is an ARTIST - he views the world and everything in it DIFFERENTLY than a person without his talent and flair. What would you have him do? Pretend he isn’t something that he is just to make YOU feel more comfortable?

———————————————————————————-

REA this has got nothing to do with me “as in YOU ” ,having said that ,it can -for the majority be difficult to accept the Individuality displayed by the Olympian within the conforms generated by the society

in general -place your blame where you wish -but I have nothing against the Free Spirit of an Individual .

———————————————————————————

Most folk I know would rather DIE than be caught in the flamboyant outfits Johnny designs and wears.

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That I could understand ,but also ,I understand your expression for evolution and the freedom to express it within a realm of novelty.

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Most of all, Johnny and many of like nature, look, sound and act in a way that is outside the realm of experience of “most folk.” So what’s the reaction of “most folk” - defensive. They FEAR the DIFFERENT - don’t understand it - can’t fathom “how he could be like that.”

From the interview that I watched on CTV ,there is no doubt that Mr. Weir is very capable in holding his own during an encounter with the press and he is more than capable in holding his own

ground.

The bottom line that I meant to expound on ,is the fact that ,in my belief is -that Mr. Weir was aware of the potential for Controversy with regards to his attire during the games and the possibilities

of a conflict of opinions.I understand that one of his ambitions is to pursue a career in fashion and I wish him the best of luck,but I personally am not drawn by his tastes, but I do respect his freedom.

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By RAE, February 26, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Clearly, radson, you don’t “get it.” And I guess that a very large number of “Leave It To Beaver” bred folk don’t either.

First of all, if I understand your statement, Johnny wasn’t surprised at the reaction to his attire. It was the broadcasters who couldn’t handle it in a mature way.

Secondly, Johnny is not advertising or promoting his particular variation of the human sexualities. He is an ARTIST - he views the world and everything in it DIFFERENTLY than a person without his talent and flair. What would you have him do? Pretend he isn’t something that he is just to make YOU feel more comfortable?

Most folk I know would rather DIE than be caught in the flamboyant outfits Johnny designs and wears. Why? For many reasons, the first of which is because it would make them DIFFERENT from their peer group and, as we all know, young folk who’ve just left the “school system of compliance to the mediocre” absolutely MUST fit in with the group. Also, “most folk” simply cannot even dream up such creations - they simply don’t have the talent to do it. They are born and bred as STANDARD ISSUE people - to look alike, talk alike, act alike - all according to some artificial “norm” society seems to expect and require from the “average” person.

Most of all, Johnny and many of like nature, look, sound and act in a way that is outside the realm of experience of “most folk.” So what’s the reaction of “most folk” - defensive. They FEAR the DIFFERENT - don’t understand it - can’t fathom “how he could be like that.”

So I ask: WHO’S PROBLEM IS IT DEAL WITH? If Johnny’s fine with Johnny, what possible business is it of others, who know absolutely nothing about him, to judge? The answer: IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. And it is not fair play for them to try to make THEIR PROBLEM into Johnny’s problem.

And just because there’s an awful lot of ignorant small-minded “most folk” out there who think it is, doesn’t make it so.

I don’t understand how so many can be so stupid and mean - AND BE PROUD OF IT.

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By radson, February 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Johnny is actually rather intelligent,but to be surprized by the reaction of his attire is an understatement and something that is more calculated than being homophobic.Controversy is not an excuse to justify his sexual preference if that is indeed his statement.

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By American Observer, February 25, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I haven’t seen Johnny Weir skate, either, but now I will check it out.  Usually I’m
more interested in the women’s skating and pairs, but men’s skating seems to be
drawing more interest and excitement this year, mostly because of a number of
different skaters coming up. 

Agreeing with beeline, it doesn’t matter what he wears, it’s the skating and the
context of his choreography and performance.

The remarks are disgraceful.  Kudos to the gay rights organization for calling for
accountability.

Go Johnny Go!  (I wish a skater would do it right to that old Chuck Berry number..)

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By beeline, February 25, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Its the talent that counts, not what he wears. If he came out wearing a silk pink dress and a matching headscarf it shouldn’t matter. He looks able to rise above these ignorant comments though.

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By DarthMiffy, February 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

I want those sportscasters to apologies to the *W*O*R*L*D* for their nastiness.
J.Weir dares to be who he is, and I can’t wait to see his next costume creation.
Deserved much better than 6th place…

Moderator: kindly awake and remove Jian’s adverts. I did ‘Report this”.

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By RAE, February 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

Extraordinary ability and talent seems to scare the hell out of those who have little of either. Add in a goodly dose of “different” and out comes the ugly side of many people.

I don’t know Johnny Weir - have never seen him perform. From his picture he appears to be a different sort of person who has likely battled such ignorance and aggression many times before. He’s likely far stronger than he looks. I guess that’s obvious since he’s an Olympic athlete, a level of competence and strength very few achieve. I wish him well.

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By msgmi, February 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RDS sports commentators Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot are two arrogant bigots whose passion for ice-skating has no merit. Two guys who can’t handle a talented skater’s preferences…RDS should fire these two homophobes or send them to rehab. Perhaps, a 12-step program may help them comtrol their homophobic ignorance.

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